New Star in Hakone

Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora offers a captivating mix of tradition and modernity

With its plentiful hot springs and diverse attractions, Hakone has long been a place where Tokyoites go to get away from it all. And when you’re there, there is perhaps no greater pleasure than the feeling you have at the end of a day spent exploring the area, soaking in hot spring baths and savoring the sumptuous flavors of expertly prepared, local ingredients. Now, with the opening of Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora earlier this year, there’s a new destination where you can experience all this, in style. It’s the latest in the InterContinental Hotels Group’s Hotel Indigo lifestyle brand, which is known for infusing their properties with the character of the neighborhoods where they’re located. Of course, part of the charm of going to Hakone is the Hakone Tozan railway, and Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora is located at Gora Station, its final stop. The hotel is just down the hill from the station, nestled on the banks of the picturesque, cherry tree–lined Haya River and surrounded by Hakone’s verdant mountains.

Best of Both Worlds

As soon as you set foot in its stunning lobby, you can tell that the designers of the hotel have taken Japanese sensibilities to heart. The first things that catch your eye are a kettle hung over a traditional Japanese irori firepit, and stools that feature patterns rendered in yosegi zaiku, a traditional form of marquetry practiced in Hakone that brings out the beauty of the many different types of wood that grow in the region. In fact, you can find touches of this eye-catching craftwork throughout the hotel—on screens, ceilings and even on the signs that indicate floor numbers. As you check in, you’ll be welcomed with a cup of tea.

The 94 tastefully appointed guest rooms and four suites at Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora seamlessly blend Japanese style with contemporary design elements. Modern furnishings contrast elegantly with yosegi zaiku decorations and vintage black-and-white photos that depict the Gora neighborhood in generations past, making for an atmosphere that is both invigorating and relaxing. Some of the hotel’s most popular rooms are those that offer riverside views and come with open air baths that allow you to bask in Hakone’s natural beauty from the comfort of your balcony. And when you’re ready to go out and explore your surroundings, the hotel has just started leading hiking tours around the area that the whole family is sure to love. Throughout the hotel, close attention has gone into ensuring that guests and staff members’ wellbeing is protected as the Covid-19 situation continues to evolve. IHG is working closely with experts at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic and has established procedures—such as reduced contact at check-in and deep cleaning of high touch surfaces in rooms and public areas—that make a stay at Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora as safe as possible.

Elemental Appeal

You can enjoy your meals at the impressively decorated Riverside Kitchen & Bar, featuring the hotel’s blend of sleek modernism and traditional Japan: yosegi zaiku panels can be found here as well, most notably on the ceiling panels and sliding doors. Another design highlight of the restaurant is its reproduction of ukiyo-e master Utagawa Hiroshige’s print that depicts Hakone. In the restaurant’s version, the image takes up an entire wall and features spectacularly colored glass panels.

In keeping with the hotel’s respect for the cultural and natural surroundings of Hakone, the Riverside Kitchen & Bar draws its inspiration from two elements that play a dynamic role in the life of the area. The first is fire, which powers the volcanic activity that heats the many onsen around Hakone. It also comes to the fore at the end of summer, when Hakone celebrates its version of the Daimonji-yaki festival. During the celebration, the mountainside of the Gora neighborhood is set ablaze with a fiery representation of the Japanese character 大 (dai, or large). The element of fire is brought to life at the restaurant at its open wood grill, which is used to prepare everything from Ashigara Wagyu sirloin and Odawara mackerel to fire-roasted beetroot and smoked Japanese cheesecake.

Water is also crucial to the area’s appeal, from the Haya River that runs nearby to the pure spring water of the region’s many onsen. The restaurant and bar honor this element by working it into their recipes—natural spring water from Gora is used in the bread baked in the restaurant’s ovens, and is also an ingredient in many of the bar’s drinks, including some Gora-inspired cocktails, including the Indigo+ and the Akafuji. The elegantly designed bar features a 360-degree counter, which affords breathtaking views of the hotel’s surroundings. During your stay, make sure to try Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora’s original pale ale, Indi五—the Japanese character means five and is read as go. Riverside Kitchen & Bar is the only place where you can enjoy this special brew.

Find Your Bliss

Located in a destination that’s known for its hot spring baths, it’s only natural for Hakone ryokan and hotels to focus on their onsens. But the onsen at Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora truly offers an unforgettable experience. One wall of the hot spring bath is taken up by a massive screen that displays a brilliant digital art show that is inspired by Hakone’s natural beauty. The display changes with the seasons, so guests can gaze at a digital depiction of the region’s foliage during the fall and a snowy landscape in winter. Another unique point of Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora’s public bath is that it is unisex, and bathers wear swimsuits in the onsen—this means that families, friends and couples can enjoy the baths without any embarrassment. And for guests who want to get a workout in, an adjacent state-of-the-art fitness center is available around the clock.

To make your stay even more blissful, the hotel offers a full range of treatments at The Spa by HARRN. The well-known Thai spa chain’s essential oils are recognized around the world, and HARRN has collaborated with Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora to create soothing and revitalizing treatments that make use of local ingredients. Guests can enjoy everything from aromatherapy massages to full-body exfoliations, which are followed by servings of herbal teas made from traditional healing recipes. A session at the spa is the perfect way to begin your visit or cap off the luxurious experience. Between its innovative design that highlights the region’s natural and cultural heritage, superb dining options and one-of-a-kind onsen, the Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora is the ideal place to make a weekend getaway—and as attractive as it is, you might be tempted to stay even longer.

Offer on Connect

If you are interested in a stay here, don’t miss this attractive offer on Connect. Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora has a special offer for one room and two meals—take 50% off breakfast and dinner for two when booking the “Hakone Half Board” package.

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